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US Official says American Companies Reluctant to Sell Technology to China 

China wants advanced American clean energy technology to help clean up its polluted environment. But an American Commerce official says China's poor enforcement of intellectual property laws is discouraging American companies from selling the technology. Chinese officials counter by saying U.S. export controls are depressing trade between the two countries. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

The United States Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Market Access and Compliance, David Bohigian, said Wednesday it is essential for the U.S. and China to promote clean energy technology to fight pollution.

"And I can't think of any more important purpose than for our countries and our companies to work together on behalf of our children to make this world a better place," said Bohigian. "And, a key facet of making this world a better place is going to be U.S.-Chinese relations in clean energy and energy efficiency."

Bohigian was speaking at a U.S.-China clean energy forum in Beijing. He is accompanying 16 U.S. businesses on a trade mission to sell American clean energy products and services.

Heavily polluted China wants to acquire the most advanced clean energy technology from U.S. companies.

But, China's Assistant Commerce Minister Wang Chao told the forum its purchases are limited because of strict U.S. export controls on high technology.

Wang says U.S. export controls have resulted in China having to buy more high technology from Japan and the European Union. He says the U.S. is winning a smaller and smaller proportion of China's imports of high technology goods.

Wang says more U.S. exports of high technology products to China would help ease the bilateral trade imbalance.

But Bohigian says only a small amount of goods are limited to make sure they are used only for peaceful purposes and that their contribution to the U.S.-China trade deficit is "vastly overstated."

He told reporters American companies are afraid to bring their best technology to China because of China's lax intellectual property rights protection, which he said is getting worse.

The U.S. in April filed complaints at the World Trade Organization against China for failing to crack down on pirated goods and preventing market access for American books, films, and videos.

China retaliated by refusing a high-level dialogue with the U.S. on IPR issues.

American businesses say they lose billions of dollars a year in sales because of Chinese piracy.